The following was written by Kate Cranfield, public health nurse for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department blog:
World Immunization Week is April 24-30. It gives us a chance to reflect on the challenges and successes in eliminating preventable diseases.
- Polio cases are down 99.9% since 1988. Since 2014, only Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria have had wild polio outbreaks.
- Australia’s HPV vaccination program led to a 77% reduction in the HPV strains that cause most cervical cancers.
- More than 720 million people have been immunized during the 16 years of the World Health Organization’s Vaccination Week in the Americas.
- Measles outbreaks in Washington and elsewhere caused the second-most cases in the U.S. since 2000. These outbreaks can reach Pierce County!
- Hundreds of thousands of people die yearly from influenza. Vaccinations are the best way to stop this. Even in years when the vaccine is a poor match with the strain, it reduces the severity of the disease, complications, and risk of death.
- WHO lists vaccine hesitancy as one of its top 10 emergent threats to global health.
Vaccines are a part of a healthy lifestyle at all ages. They protect individuals and the rest of the community. They help prevent the spread of disease and protect people who can’t get vaccinated. That includes babies and people with immune deficiencies.
Even if you get sick after getting vaccinated, it is harder for the disease to spread. That means less chance of an outbreak like we saw with measles in Clark County.
What can you do?
- Make sure your family is up to date on vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider, or check your records online.
- Get vaccinated on time. It is best to go to your healthcare provider. You can also go to a children’s immunization clinic or a place that offers vaccines for adults who don’t have insurance.
- Be a vaccine champion! Talk to your friends and family.
- Only share reliable information, like info from your healthcare provider or the Health Department.